How Tech Can Trip Us Up

how tech can trip us up like this mobile phone

The one accessory you’re unlikely to see me anywhere without is my iPhone.

But tech tools have become such an indispensable component to most of our daily lives that we don’t often realize how much of a negative impact they might have on certain activities — one of which is exercise. So the next time you’re tempted to press “play” while stepping onto a treadmill, here are a few precautions to keep in mind: 

Impaired Balance and Stability  

Be aware that trying to hold onto your phone while working out means you are less focused on positioning your hands correctly on equipment rails or weight machines. It can also limit your ability to react quickly, should you suddenly start to stumble or need to switch positions to regain balance. 

This is of particular concern if one is attempting to send or read text messages mid-workout. In fact, studies have shown that even taking a phone call can make a person’s “posture more unstable … worsening balance and stability by up to 45 percent” — increasing the potential risk of falling. 

Workout Intensity  

Watching a TV show may help to pass the time during a longer sweat sesh. However, the more tuned in you are to the screen, the less you might notice how hard — or easy — the exercise you’re doing actually is. Not every workout needs to be high energy, by any means. Yet, we make gains in our fitness by periodically varying the types of activities we do, in addition to the duration and intensity level. So don’t let binge-watching a fave series while at the gym keep you from regularly trying more challenging activities

Range — and Type — of Motion 

Strength-based training can be limited by phone use, as well. If using your phone while exercising has become habitual, you might hesitate to put down the device to lift weights (since it is pretty hard to scroll with a 5-pound dumbbell in your hand). Also, screens lighting up can cause folks to jerk while reaching for a phone too quickly, often from an awkward position. Over time, this could impact one’s ability to fully extend or flex an elbow—or start to cause shoulder issues from repetitive incorrect posture during active movement. 

What are ways a mobile device has helped or hindered your fitness routine? Let me and your fellow TOPS members know in the comments below. 

Create a “WOW” moment this Wednesday! 


6 thoughts on “How Tech Can Trip Us Up

  1. Very good advice! I don’t use my phone when exercising. For high-impact workouts (jumping around in my living room), I play podcasts on the Echo Dot. For low-impact workouts (walking outside) I listen to podcasts on an MP3 player. I’m going to pay more attention to how my workout intensity might be affected by technology now, though.

  2. Rachel excellent article. So easy to have an accident when a phone is in your hand. Especially walking on a treadmill at the same time. I like listening to some wonderful music when I am walking on my treadmill. Time goes by before I know it and I have gotten in time I wanted to do on treadmill.

    1. Glad you liked this week’s blog, Robin.
      I usually listen to music when I’m running outdoors. At the gym, I’m most likely on a stair machine. (So it’s usually one of the rare occasions I may be watching a tv show, but my phone is placed securely on the machine for the duration of the workout.)

  3. Thanks for the info. I think people use their phones to much. We need to take breaks from them. I see people driving and talking on their phones. Their reaction isn”t good. Thanks again for your info. Be safe.

    1. Janet,
      I am personally trying to be better about relying on my phone less while driving. But I think it can be a hard habit to break ( = you are right that we’re used to having our phones within “arm’s reach” it seems just about always nowadays).

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